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lingerie, I don’t mean the run-of-the-mill stuff, I mean bedroom playwear. When we started we bought in bustiers and corsets and, in this area, if it’s something you can get on the High Street, or an expensive line, forget it. If we’re competing against M&S for lingerie sales, their buying power is always going to beat ours. So we have to focus on the sexier, more revealing products. The shoes we sell aren’t the sort of thing you can get anywhere either. They’re proper sexy high-heeled stilettos. You couldn’t really go to work in them - unless you were a stripper!”


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From a single-shop business to the largest chain of licensed adult retailers in the UK; Private Shops. The shops are run by Darker Enterprises and I asked its main man Mike Wallace what actions the firm was taking during this time of economic uncertainty. He told me: “We looked at possible savings first, and downsized from a 50,000 square foot warehouse to a 10,000 square foot warehouse, which has obviously resulted in significantly lower costs. What’s brought this about was mostly the collapse in mail order sales of DVDs and legal restrictions on R18 sales within the country. We’re not carrying so many titles either and without the need to hold such a wide range of products it was a


logical move to shrink shelf space. Certainly the mail order situation has been the biggest part of that though.” Wallace continued: “Along with the physical downsizing we’ve had to make a number of redundancies over the last 18 months. They were required. It’s regrettable that people who’ve done great work for us, and through no fault of their own, had to be let go. There just wasn’t a business need for them while things are quieter for the industry as a whole. We’re hoping that when things turn the corner we’ll be able to welcome them back. Those have been the two main areas we’ve made savings but we’ve looked at the costs of the whole organisation to save what we can, where we can. From the whole network of staff, the bonus system, expenses, and so on. Another example is our deliveries. We use our own vans where it’s economical to do so and try to get the best deal we’re able from couriers when that’s the better alternative. We’re also doing more job sharing


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Erotic Trade Only June 2011


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